Background: Lymphocyte subsets enumeration is considered prominent in the management of primary and acquired immunodeficiency disorders. Because of local variations due to race, age, gender, and environmental conditions on lymphocyte subsets, and to improve the accuracy of interpretation of laboratory findings, reference intervals must be determined in every population.
Objective: To establish a normal reference range for CD3+ , CD4+ , CD8+ , CD19+ and CD56+ lymphocytes in a healthy Iranian adult population using flowcytometry.
Method: Blood samples were collected from 221 HIV seronegative individuals, including 112 females and 109 males, with ages ranging from 20 to 40 years old. The percentage of lymphocytes expressing either of CD3, CD4, CD8, CD19 and CD56 surface markers were determined by flowcytometry assay.
Result: Total mean percentage and absolute count of lymphocyte subsets were as follows: CD3+ : 70.90 ± 7.54%, 1800.87 ± 471.09 cells/µl; CD4+ : 41.04 ± 7.86%, 1039.99 ± 338.02 cells/µl; CD8+ : 31.11 ± 6.60%, 783.95 ± 234.87 cells/µl; CD19+ : 12.77 ± 4.56%, 328.37 ± 153.17 cells/µl; CD56+ : 15.53 ± 6.34%, 388.62 ± 176.17 cells/µl, respectively. The ratio of CD4+ /CD8+ lymphocytes for the studied population was 1.39 ± 0.48. Significant differences were observed between male and female subjects indicating that the average percentage of CD3+ cells (p=0.017) and CD4+ T cells (p=0.003) were higher in the female population, whereas the average percentage of CD19+ cells (p=0.02) tended to be higher among males. However, investigations on the CD56+ NK cell and CD8+ T cell sub-populations did not show any statistical differences between the two genders. In comparison with reports of other populations, we were confronted with different results.
Conclusion: Establishing reference values of lymphocyte subsets for each population is helpful in achieving standard criteria for the prognosis of HIV infection. Therefore, normal ranges established by this survey can be used as a reference for decisions made in clinical practice.